A week ago, Yahya Dabassa Ibrahim was on a hunger strike, rotting away in an Israeli prison where he expected to spend the rest of his life.This terrorist is Yihya Ibrahim Abd al-Hafez Daamsah, who helped coordinate the Cafe Moment bombing of 2002. He was serving a life sentence. Since the Washington Post doesn't want to delve into the details of exactly why he was in prison, I will.
But the Oct. 18 prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas landed the Bethlehem native in a surreal place: the Gaza Strip’s brand-new luxury hotel.
The eight-story Al-Mashtal Hotel, which opened in late July, is an oasis of fluffy white duvets, stunning ocean views, steaks cooked to perfection and sparkling swimming pools. Its splendor is startling in this blockaded territory where dozens of bombed buildings lie in ruin, heaps of garbage dot nearly every street and the Mediterranean shoreline is speckled by evidence of the tons of raw sewage dumped into the ocean every day.
As he sat in the hotel’s dimly lighted courtyard on a recent evening, Ibrahim, a convicted bombmaker, struggled to describe how dramatically his luck had changed.
Ibrahim, 50, served roughly 10 years of a life sentence. He was among the prisoners who went on a hunger strike in recent months after Israel took away certain perks, including access to television, and limited visits by relatives.
He was accused of manufacturing explosives that were used in attacks in Israeli cities, according to news reports. Ibrahim said he didn’t want to discuss the incidents that led to his incarceration, but he made it clear that he didn’t regret participating in militancy.
“We sacrificed part of our lives not to stay in hotels like these, but to liberate Palestine,” he said.
From Israel's MFA:
11 people were killed and 54 injured, 10 of them seriously, when a suicide bomber exploded at 22:30 PM Saturday night, March 9, 2002, in a crowded Moment cafe at the corner of Aza and Ben-Maimon streets in the Rehavia neighborhood in the center of Jerusalem. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
The bomber walked into the cafe, located at the corner of Aza and Ben-Maimon streets about 100 meters from the prime minister's residence, and detonated a powerful explosive charge that completely gutted the restaurant.
The names of the victims:
- Limor Ben-Shoham, 27, of Jerusalem;
- Nir Rahamim Borochov, 22, of Givat Ze'ev;
- Danit Dagan, 25, of Tel-Aviv;
- Livnat Dvash, 28, of Jerusalem;
- Tali Eliyahu, 26, of Jerusalem;
- Uri Felix, 25, of Givat Ze'ev;
- Dan Imani, 23, of Jerusalem;
- Natanel Kochavi, 31, of Kiryat Ata;
- Baruch Lerner-Naor, 28, of Eli;
- Orit Ozarov, 28, of Jerusalem;
- Avraham Haim Rahamim, 29, of Jerusalem
Limor Ben Shoham